The Amsterdam-Amstelland fire brigade needs to change. At Amsterdam’s oldest fire station, not far from the Rijksmuseum, we follow station commander Gerrie on the eve of a move and during the long-running process to make the organization more inclusive and diverse.
With Gerrie in the leading role, we see the firefighters carrying out their daily activities at the fire station. We join them when they go out to fight a blaze, when someone needs to be resuscitated, or when difficult conversations take place with commanders and policymakers. And we witness during group discussions where emotions sometimes run high.
Gerrie represents the old guard, and he watches with dismay as his familiar working environment disappears. He is also struggling with understaffing, partly as a result of the new recruitment policy. Without taking sides, director Saskia Gubbels reveals why the changes imposed from above meet with so much resistance. Burning Out provides insight into the dynamics arising on the fault line of cultural change.